The Best Laptops Linux (Top Picks Full Guide!)
What are the Best Laptops Linux? If you want to have a wonderful Linux experience, we recommend purchasing a laptop with a pre-installed Linux operating system.
That way, your laptop’s hardware and drivers will function normally. Here are our suggestions for doing so.
Top 3 Best Laptops Linux
If you’re looking for a Windows 10 or macOS alternative, go no further than the best Linux laptops. You don’t have to buy a slow, low-powered machine or install Linux yourself these days to have a laptop with an open-source operating system.
1. Best Overall Linux Laptop: HP 17 Business Laptop with Linux
With the HP 17 Business Laptop with Linux, you can manage workloads and meet deadlines while on the go. The portable laptop fits easily into suitcases and carry-on luggage, and the strong battery offers hours of work per charge.
This laptop’s spacious 17.3-inch LED-backlit HD+ Brightview display brings out the detail in papers, presentations, and streaming entertainment while also ensuring easy sight in a variety of challenging lighting circumstances.
HP 17 Business Laptop – Linux Mint Cinnamon – Intel Quad-Core i5-10210U, 32GB RAM, 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD + 1TB Storage HDD, 17.3″ Inch HD+ (1600×900) Display, SD Card Reader, DVD+-RW Burner
With clock speeds of up to 3.4GHz, the quad-core Intel Core i5 CPU with Turbo Boost technology quickly tackles resource-intensive programs and demanding projects, making it ideal for sustaining productivity while traveling.
When you’re not in the office, advanced Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity make it simple to share files with colleagues, and the built-in webcam enhances communication with high-definition video chatting. With its inbuilt Bluetooth connectivity, this HP notebook is compatible with wireless peripherals.
- Great for Office and Home
- Powerful Graphics Card
- High-Quality Build
2. Best Performance Linux Laptop: Dell XPS 13 Developer Laptop
Although this Dell laptop is available with Windows, the XPS 13 Developer Edition has the Ubuntu 20.04 Linux operating system. This is the greatest option for most individuals if all they want is a nice laptop for everyday usage with a Linux OS.
You can customize the laptop, but as with many Dell devices these days, the number of changeable options is fairly restricted. The base model includes 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM at 2133 MHz, which can be upgraded to 16GB RAM for an additional charge.
Although the Dell website offers three different design options for the XPS 13 in Windows, there is just one style option for the Ubuntu edition: platinum silver with black carbon fiber palmrest – which, to be fair, is perhaps the most stylish option.
- Linux has official support.
- Excellent build quality
- Battery life is extended.
- Easily customizable
- Premium pricing.
- Only Intel graphics are supported.
BUY the Dell XPS 13 here at Dell.com
3. Best Budget Linux laptop cheap: Acer Chromebook Spin 713
- 10th Generation Intel Core i5 - 10210U
- System Memory (RAM) 8 gigabytes
- 128GB SSD
- Backlit Keyboard 13.5" 2K VertiView 3:2 Touch
The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is another budget option. Linux laptops are a specialized product when compared to normal PC laptops, hence they tend to be more expensive. Linux computers in the $200 to $500 price bracket won’t be found alongside low-cost Windows laptops, will they?
Acer – Chromebook Spin 713 2-in-1 13.5″ 2K VertiView 3:2 Touch – Intel i5-10210U – 8GB Memory – 128GB SSD – Steel Gray
Consider Chromebooks if you want to save money while having a Linux system. Chrome OS, Google’s operating system, is based on Linux and employs a Linux kernel. Linux distributions can be run on all Chromebooks.
You can take any current Chromebook and run Linux software on it in a matter of seconds, from Linux terminal applications to graphical Linux desktop applications. You may also run Android apps alongside Linux programs.
- A low-cost solution to execute Linux software
- Surprisingly capable hardware for the price.
- Runs Android apps as well.
- Chrome OS is used instead of a regular Linux distribution.
- If you replace Chrome OS with a more traditional Linux environment, the hardware is not guaranteed to work.
4. Linux laptop best for School: ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 2-In-1 Laptop
- 14 inch Touchscreen FHD 1920x1080 4-way NanoEdge display featuring ultra-narrow bezels (5mm thin) around each side of the display that allows for a 14 inch screen to fit in the body of a 13inch laptop footprint.
- The FHD display has a durable 360 degree hinge that can be used to flip the touchscreen display to tent, stand, and tablet mode.
- Powered by the Intel Core m3-8100Y Processor (up to 3.4 GHz) for super-fast and snappy performance. If you use a ton of tabs or run lots of apps, this has the power to get it all done with ease.
- 8GB DDR3 RAM; 64GB eMMC storage and 2x USB Type-C (Gen 1) and 1s Type-A (Gen 1) ports plus a super bright backlit keyboard.
- The lightweight (3lbs) all-aluminum metal body makes the C434 both durable and beautiful for a timeless look that will never go out of style.
A Chromebook is an excellent cheap alternative if you want to try out Linux programs but don’t want to pay a lot of money. Excellent for students and schools on a budget.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 2-In-1 Laptop- 14″ Full HD 4-Way NanoEdge Touchscreen, Intel Core M3-8100Y Processor, 8GB RAM, 64GB eMMC Storage, Backlit KB, Chrome OS- C434TA-DS384T Silver
And, for a lot less money than some of the other options on this list, this Chromebook from ASUS offers some very fantastic features and internals. However, keep in mind that, while Chromebooks may run Linux programs, they are not the same as traditional Linux laptops.
One of the most impressive aspects of this Chromebook is its 360-degree hinge, which allows you to use it as a laptop or a tablet. The 14-inch touchscreen display has ultra-narrow bezels on all sides, making it a very small and lightweight laptop.
- Budget Laptop
- 360 Flip
- Tablet like Functions
- Small Screen
5. Best Performance Linux laptop for gaming: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Lenovo has its premium ThinkPad series, and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 comes pre-installed with Linux. You can obtain this ThinkPad model with either Ubuntu or Fedora out of the box, or you can install other Linux distributions if you prefer another operating system.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 9th Gen 9 Intel Core i7-1165G7, FHD Non-Touch Screen,16GB RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, Backlit KYB Fingerprint Reader
This is also my favorite business laptop, and for good reason. It’s even lighter than the already-lightweight Dell XPS 13 (2.49 pounds vs. 2.64 pounds) because of the use of lightweight carbon fiber, and it has a more solid build quality.
Lenovo boldly advertises that ThinkPads are tested against military-grade specifications so that they can operate in harsh environments, and the manufacturer’s testing range from mechanical shock and humidity to sand, dust, and fungus. This is a premium laptop. You can also consider Linux laptop refurbished units as an alternative solution.
- A high-end laptop that includes Linux.
- More durable and lighter than our top choice
- ThinkPad Nub Classic
- Premium Cost
- It just has Intel-integrated graphics.
Windows Version on Amazon Here
Linux Version Custom Built at Lenovo.com
What to Look for in a Linux Laptop
What are considered good Linux laptops? Although Linux laptops are still far more niche to purchase than Windows or Mac laptops, they’re slowly becoming more mainstream. If you want to purchase a laptop that runs a Linux distro, here’s what you need to consider:
- Whether Linux OS is Preinstalled: Most laptops that are available through large retailers either come with Windows OS or macOS. Although Linux operating systems are becoming more popular, it’s still fairly niche to purchase a laptop with a Linux OS already installed on it. Unless you feel comfortable purchasing a laptop and installing a Linux OS on it yourself, it’s best to buy a laptop with Linux OS preinstalled.
- Chrome OS vs. Other Linux OS: Chrome OS is based on Linux, so all modern Chromebooks will be able to run Linux apps, but they’re still different than traditional Linux computers. If you mainly just want to be able to run Linux apps but not spend a ton of money, consider purchasing a Chromebook.
- General Laptop Parameters: Just like with any other laptop purchase, you’ll also want to consider what you want the internals to look like. How much storage do you want? Do you want the graphics card to be a priority? Do you intend to use the laptop for work, school, gaming, or something else? Make sure you think about what your laptop needs internally to be able to use it how you want to.
How to choose the best Linux laptop for you
Follow these basic guidelines and you’ll have an easier time narrowing down the choices. Or just skip straight to the list of the best laptops for Linux.
- First off – almost any laptop will run a Linux distro. Some laptops may need extra work for installing drivers and fixing compatibility issues – but most will work fine. However, if you want to be sure and get a laptop that “just works”, get a laptop from our list below.
- A laptop that’s “the best” for you, may not be a good fit for someone else. So choose a laptop based on your budget, preferences, and requirements first. Check the recommendations second.
- Do your research before buying it. Google the model you plan on using by adding “linux”, “ubuntu” or whatever else you’ll be using and you’ll find more information about that specific model. The hardware may not even be supported, or there may be some bugs with stuff like the touchpad, Wi-Fi, battery life etc. So always do your research before buying the laptop if it’s not pre-installed with a Linux distro. It should take you about 2 minutes to do a quick google search and quickly find out if it’s compatible with your distro or not. Helpful keywords to add are “issues”, “problem”, “bug”, “incompatibility”, “driver” on top of the keywords for your model and your distro. You can even search forums and get some reviews/opinions from other people. If you’re buying a laptop with a Linux distro pre-installed, then you don’t have to worry about compatibility.
- Laptops with a pre-installed Windows will also work with Linux, and vice-versa. If you find a laptop that has Windows pre-installed, you can still use it to install a Linux distro yourself. You can even install Linux on a Mac laptop (Apple). If a Linux distro is pre-installed on the laptop, then obviously it’s compatible. However, there may be some small bugs here and there if you dig deep enough. It’s worth noting that windows and Mac laptops are usually more expensive, so if you plan on installing Linux, don’t get a Windows license with your new laptop.
- Check with your Linux distro. Some distros have official recommendations for laptops, and others have a community wiki/forums with a list of recommendations. Mint and Ubuntu are the most popular Linux distros, and naturally, they are compatible with most hardware right out of the box. Ubuntu has a directory of tested and recommended laptops that you should definitely check out and the Arch Wiki is full of useful information about Linux laptops and related hardware.
- You don’t need a powerful laptop with bleeding-edge hardware for smooth usage. Most Linux distros are lightweight by themselves, even popular ones, so you don’t really need as much RAM and CPU power as you would need with a Windows or a Mac. You can even run a lightweight Linux distro on 256MB RAM or less. Of course, for better performances, you’ll need better hardware. You should choose the laptop and its hardware based on your requirements and budget, though have in mind that the Linux distro itself won’t take up as many resources as other alternatives would, especially if you use a lightweight distro.
- If you don’t want to use a Linux distro as your main OS on your laptop, you can always set up dual-boot with Linux and Windows/Mac.
Which of the best Linux laptops is right for you?
Buying a Linux laptop is just like buying any other: It’s useful to find one that fits both your price range and overall needs. That’s a bit of a sticking point compared to Windows-powered laptops.
Linux has been a niche “product” since its beginnings in 1991. Companies like Acer or Toshiba aren’t cranking out inexpensive laptops that run Linux and probably never will. Finding the best Linux laptop is easy because companies like Dell and Lenovo cater to the enterprise crowd, while small but very reputable companies like System 76 cater to the enthusiasts. In theory, you can install Linux on any laptop if you’re willing to go through the headache of finding the right configuration for the hardware inside, and that’s a good option if you’re technically inclined to do it. And lucky enough for it to work.
If you know you want a great Linux laptop, any on this list will serve you well. However, we recommend the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It has everything you could need from a company that builds for enterprise users. Out of the box, you’ll get a 10th-gen Intel i5 chipset paired with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Plus, this ships with the Fedora 32 distro, so you won’t have to do anything on the software side when it arrives.
Chromebooks offer a bit of an in-between. ChromeOS is actually a locked-down Linux distribution in its own right (as is Android) and Google has enabled Chromebooks using Intel processors to actually run any correctly packaged Linux application in a native container. If we had to pick just one, it would be the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5, which is really versatile and would be great for everyone. The Flex 5 is also our pick for the best Chromebook, due to the power under the hood and that sweet reversible display.
Final Thoughts on Best Laptops Linux
We hope this article has been helpful in your buying decision. We recommend the HP 17 Mint. This is a top-of-the-line unit with all the processing power you will need for all major work. If you don’t need the power then check out the budget units by ASUS and Acers as alternatives.
Finding the ideal Linux laptop has never been easy. Big companies like Toshiba and ACER aren’t making low-cost Linux laptops, and they probably never will. That, however, is not a problem.